A different approach may be good

8:30am

I’ve been thinking about Laura. We are going to have a third date this coming Friday. We haven’t been physical in any way. I wouldn’t have expected to have slept together (I wouldn’t have turned it down…she’s really beautiful) but at a kiss good night would have been nice. So that was on my mind then I thought about every relationship I have had up to this point. The physical side of things started almost immediately and then we got to know each other. They all ended up failures. So maybe going slow on the physical and taking time to actually get to know her is a good thing(?). I don’t know. I write that and I think to myself yeah but if there was a spark, an attraction, she would have wanted something to happen. Maybe she does and is just biding her time. Our date last week when I walked her to her car she did this move with the door that made it very clear she wasn’t down for a kiss.

A personal inventory

12:00pm

Driving back from lunch I was thinking about the different ways to think about health. I boiled it down to: physical, mental, and economic. I took a personal inventory of each of those for myself, Dennis, and Brad from before Michelle and I split up to now.

It kind of feels like my life going forward is always going to be seen as B.K. and A.K. (before Michelle and after Michelle).

On all fronts we are doing well. For our physical health all you have to do is look at me and you can see a dramatic difference. I’ve lost 41lbs since then, I don’t drink anymore (I’ve only lapsed, getting drunk once since we broke up). Dennis and Brad are both super active.

Both boys are achieving in school and with their friends. Our mental health is much better. I sleep well and am generally happy these days, especially when I have the boys with me. They both seem to be the same. My/our economic health is better than it has ever been. I have more money saved than I have ever had in my life. I made less money last year than I did when Michelle and I were a couple and yet I have more money. It seems we are better without Michelle in our lives. Trying to make her happy was difficult and stressful.

To be clear here, Michelle isn’t to blame for my alcohol abuse and controlling behavior. She was a stressor…my reaction to stress was drink and control. The unhealthy way I had coped with stress/anxiety was my fault. I reacted to every stressor the same way. It didn’t matter if it was a person, my job, financial troubles, etc, etc. If I felt anxiety I alleviated that with booze and “taking charge”.

 

A dream

8:00am

I had a dream about Michelle last night. We were sitting out in the yard listening to music and reading. It was a really nice day. I noticed in my peripheral vision these orbs. They were these balls of smoke or mist that were clearly moving of their own volition. I raised my hand to one and it moved away. I hit one and my hand went through it as you would expect, it dispersed and quickly coalesced again. I laughed when I noticed there were three of these things. Michelle asked me what they were and what I was doing.  That was the entire dream. I guess it was a dream with Michelle in it more than a dream about Michelle. I’m not sure what the orbs or balls of mist/smoke represent and what breaking them up with my hands only to have them reform means. I want to think it is a good thing because I woke up after the dream with a nice, contented feeling.

Dennis and Brad are both doing really well. They are both getting really good grades (4.0 and 3.75 GPA’s respectively), their teachers all enjoy them in class, they are active with sports and exercise, they have active social lives with good friends, and the three of us spend a lot of time together. I love them so much. They make me so happy and proud. I have, maybe, 3 good years with Dennis before college. Add 2 years to that with Brad. That makes me sad…and kind of lonely.

I have thought about that recently, being lonely. I have never been lonely before. Before I married Collette I loved being single. After our divorce I didn’t mind it at all but now that Michelle and I are no longer together I hate being alone. My initial thought is because I don’t have Michelle…that’s why I hate it. That could be it, but it could also be as simple as I’m not drinking anymore as a way to pass the time so I’m bored…all the time. Sunday I was home all day doing laundry, working out, and reading…I kept thinking about going to the Interlude and just watching Golf and chatting with the bartender. I didn’t of course but it was in my head. I have read so many books since I quit getting drunk. I even thought about Michelle on Sunday…I miss sitting in her office reading while she was doing homework. That was so nice to be near each other like that.

“Missing Michelle” is just a place holder for missing someone to be connected with. Seeing the end of having the boys out there on the horizon is making being alone loom large. I ran into my (across the street) neighbor at the grocery store and ended up chatting with her for a while. When we finished she smiled and said, “David, you’ll find the right girl…just be patient.” It was random, off topic, and really sweet of her to say that. She’s right. I will find the right woman. Michelle wasn’t it. She and I would have been well suited for each other in 10 years when she is older, has more life experience, and maturity. She has been reduced to a symbol of what the boys and I are hoping for.

More dating

I chatted with Laura a bit last night via text. We have a second date set up for this coming Wednesday evening. We’re going to a board bar. That should be a good time.

I also have a date Sunday evening with another woman. From everything they say this is a numbers game. I’m not 100% comfortable with seeing multiple women but I guess this is how it’s done.

I went on a date

8:00am

I went on a date last night. I was super nervous. I ended up having a really great time. She is funny, nerdy (a huge Harry Potter fan), smart, and very pretty. It was supposed to be a casual, quick date but we ended up talking for just over 2 hours. I would like to see here again. We’ll see what happens. I sent her a text after I walked her to her car:

Me:        Hey…I had a really nice time tonight. Please let me know you got home safe.

Laura:    Hey – me too! I did make it home.

Me:        Have a good night. Talk to you soon.

Laura:    You too!

So that’s good right? I fucking hate dating and all the uncertainty. I’d like to skip ahead to the part where you’re comfortable and involved with a person and have found out their little foibles and idiosyncrasies. Can we just time travel to that part? Now I’m in this dilemma…do I wait for the feedback from the match maker before I ask her out again or do I just text her and see if I can buy her dinner?

The one thing I don’t like about this match maker dating thing is the number of dates they set up for you. It’s more than unromantic…it feels pessimistic. Anyway, if they all turn out to be like Laura I think I’ll be in great shape.

It’s been a while

8:00am

It has been over a week since I have posted anything. Having blogged almost every week day the last 6 months it seems strange. I feel good: calm, sober, fit, (if not happy) content, and in good spirits. Work is going really well. That is a small contributor to not journaling…I’ve been too busy to take the time.

I have a date tonight. It was set up by the match maker. It’s a 36 year old woman named Laura. She is in HR, never married, and she doesn’t have kids. To say I’m nervous is an understatement. I keep thinking I should cancel. But then I remember back to when I was dating before Michelle and I met…I felt the same way then too. In fact I felt the same way about Michelle before our first date. So I will just keep remembering a quote I saw once. “Personal growth lies just outside your comfort zone.” This is definitely outside my comfort zone.

Picking myself up

8:30am

I felt sad yesterday. I was too tired and crappy feeling to exercise so I read most of the night. I ended up having a recurring dream but I can’t think of what it was this morning. The sense I have is it was a pleasant dream. Drinking on Sunday left me in/with a funk, a general sense of sadness. Instead of beating myself up over this like I was yesterday I thinking more of this is a learning experience. A reinforcement of why I quit drinking. I’ve disappointed myself and my kids. Last night I didn’t feel a desire to drink. All I could feel was sad and longing. I wanted to reach out to Michelle and talk to her about what happened on Sunday. She’s the only person I have felt comfortable being completely open and vulnerable with (exempting my therapist). I miss that connection with another person…the vulnerability, acceptance, and love of a woman.

Enough about that…sobriety…I need to put that back on the front burner and re-focus on the habits I have formed the last 6 months. No more casual (1 or 2) glasses of wine. Those are going to lead to my falling into old habits again. I can see it now. So tonight it is exercise and maybe a movie then home for bed and a book.

I’ve been putting off the second meeting w/ the match maker. I’ve rescheduled it 2 times now. I’m just feeling a general indifference to the idea of dating (all indications to the contrary with my opening paragraph to this journal entry right?). I guess what I don’t like about dating is the idea of getting from meeting a stranger to the part where we are a couple who has settled into a life together…the getting there is awful and I’m tired of having to do it.

Back-sliding

9:30am

I got drunk yesterday. I had the friends over for brunch and we had memosa’s. Then it was screw drivers…it just spiraled out of control for me. I guess the only upside is I didn’t have that much to drink because it doesn’t take as much to get me drunk.

I feel awful today: sick to my stomach, headache, foggy in the brain…all that and a healthy dose of self-loathing to boot. I was thinking about what I said about when I had that first glass of wine at Thanksgiving and being worried it would be like smoking where I would incrementally fall back into my old habits. I think it might be happening.

I am going to talk to myself here…You can’t start drinking again. You will die if you do. You are going to poison yourself and poison Brad and Dennis’s minds and lives if you start drinking again. You can’t get drunk again. You have to be better than this. You should go to another AA meeting tomorrow night. You need inspiration/motivation.

Feeling good

8:30am

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with my life. For years it was about Michelle and I. Our life as a couple, my supporting her (emotionally and financially) as she built her career, our life with the boys, our life after the boys were grown and gone, and finally our life in the my later years. I was so happy it was all mapped out and that it was going to be with Michelle. Clearly that is not to be. So I’ve been in this, “what now?” mode.

Michelle and I had talked about volunteering (as a couple) with the Peace Corp once I was of retirement age. I have always wanted to do that. But I want to do it sooner than later. I need to get Dennis and Brad established and settled in their lives before I can just take off and think about myself. I figure 10 years from now they should be in good shape. They will be 26 and 24 years old (respectively). That would put my retirement at 54 years old. I would be giving up the Deferred Comp plan (I’m eligible for that at 60 years old) which is a sizeable chunk. I’ve done the math and the analysis. I know how much I need as a nest egg when I quit at 54. If I can get that together…by the time I’m 65 years old…between entitlements and my investments, I’ll have all the money I need to live on. It’ll be a stretch to get to “nest egg” goal in the next 10-12 years but if I buckle down, I can do it. I won’t need to sell my home either. I can hire a rental company and rent it out…that’ll be a way to build equity while I’m overseas.

Ever since Michelle and I have split up I have felt kind of rudderless. I feel like I don’t have any direction for my life past the kids. I have 5 years until Brad is out of the house to college. I want to enjoy my boys while they are still boys. I want to help get them started in life as men. I want to travel before I’m too old and tired. I want to give back to the world that has been so good to me. I want to be comfortable when I eventually retire. I can get all of that done. I’ve had a pretty decent life so far…I can make the second half even more interesting!!

My trip last weekend to New York was inspired. I was so positive and happy there. It felt amazing to be travelling and experiencing life. I’m not ready to have that as my occupation. I want to live and revel in Dennis and Brad. They are such great kids. I can see both of them being good men (for different reasons).

I feel good about this!

Is this what “getting better” is?

3:30pm

A crazy day at work. I can’t believe the day is almost over already. I am busier than I have been in years…a good problem to have. I’m staring at the screen and my mind is completely blank. I can’t think of anything to write about except not having anything to write about. That’s a first, my lacking any inspiration to journal.

Is this what getting better feels like? It’s weird leaving this page almost completely blank. Oh well.